MPs echo fair funding call

By Rob George Friday 27 June 2014 Updated: 27/06 11:19

EVESHAM and Pershore’s MPs have echoed calls for the Government to speed up the introduction of a new funding formula for the county’s schools.

Sir Peter Luff and Harriett Baldwin backed Worcester MP Robin Walker’s plea following a debate in the House of Commons.

Birmingham schools currently receive £5,218 per pupil while those in Worcestershire receive just £4,231.

The disparities are supposed to reflect the different needs of different areas, and councils serving areas of high deprivation tend to receive higher funding. As a result, urban areas tend to receive more than rural areas.

However, ministers have now announced plans to distribute an extra £350 million to many of the worst-funded local authorities, as the first stage to the introduction of a new national funding system.

The boost means Worcestershire schools will receive a windfall of £71 per pupil in 2015/2016 financial year and Mr Walker said there was much further to go to ensure funding was made fairer.

“Although there is little to link funding and overall attainment, there is a link between funding and raising the attainment of the most deprived cohorts.”

“What has been done is a down payment. I want our party to set down clearly in its manifesto our commitment not only to a fair, transparent funding formula in years to come, but to its rapid implementation,” he added.

Speaking after the debate, Mrs Baldwin said: “I congratulate Robin on securing the debate and fully back the campaign for fairer funding for Worcestershire schools.

“I’ve replied to the consultation and I’ve also passed on the views of local schools about the new formula.

“The steps the Government have made on fairer school funding, the pupil premium and free school meals represent real

progress in the right direction, but there’s more to do and we need a long-term economic plan that allows us to continue to

increase the funding for our schools in the future.”

Sir Peter congratulated Mr Walker on his efforts and said: “It is, however, only an initial breakthrough, as he has said.

“As long as schools such as Prince Henry’s High School in Evesham face significant real-terms funding cuts, despite those achievements, much more work needs to be done.

“I offer him every best wish in pursuing this excellent campaign into the future,” he added.

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